Monday, April 27, 2020

More Lion Rampant by Skype

On Sunday we had another game of multi-player Lion Rampant with the players spread across three counties.  Again it was using my 15th century Swiss-Burgundian Wars models. Once more, Gus and Mark ran the Burgundians but this time Andy was joined by John to command the Swiss. Very kindly, Jamie helped out by moving the toys around.

Again, I was too busy running the game to take a sequence of photographs but I did get some nice pics about three-quarters of the way through.

The battle saw the first outing for my new Burgundian ordonnance pikemen (see below). Needless to say, they were routed from the table. This is wholly traditional for any newly painted wargames unit.

The scenario this time was a basic line-up-and-fight approach.  I thought it would be interesting to make sure the table had two distinct areas - one characterised by dense terrain with little room to manoeuvre and the other more open.  The western end of the table was built up and had gardens and scrubby ground that were declared to be Rough Ground.

The centre of the table was dominated by a significant area of open ground (albeit with nearby woods and a steep hill).

I wanted the players to think about where they deployed their units and make sure they sent the right horses to the right courses.  To some extent this was what they did but Heinrich von Schimmel (Mark) did have one of his companies of mounted Burgundian men-at-arms lured into the built-up area where, predictably, they were ambushed and routed by Swiss hand-gunners.

In the centre and on the eastern flank of the field the Burgundian leader, Riccardo di Stanza (Gus) had high quality troops - ordonnance longbowmen (Expert Archers) and pikemen (Expert Foot Serjeants) but they were outnumbered by the Swiss. The Burgundian men-at-arms and coustilliers who should have supported them were slow getting into action.

The opposing Swiss fielded two units of pike, one of Italian mercenary crossbowmen, and one of mounted crossbowmen.    

Believing that the enemy's superior numbers were about to tell, di Stanza issued a challenge to the leader of the Swiss pikes, Beat Züsli (John).

Unfortunately, the Lord was not on di Stanza's side and he soon lay bleeding on the field of battle.

The defeat of their coustilliers by a combination of pikes and mounted crossbowmen and the slaughter of their men-at-arms, shot down among the cabbages, persuaded the Burgundians to withdraw.

So now we have two games under our belts and one win each for Burgundians and Swiss. We counted Glory this time and the following totals are carried forward to our next game:

John - Beat Züsli - 5 Glory
Andy - Gustav Schneffl - 4 Glory (he had made a boast that all of his units would get into hand to hand combat but they did not)
Mark - Heinrich von Schimmel - 0 Glory
Gus - Contare Riccardo di Stanza 0 Glory and deceased.

I gave Gus the option of rolling on The Pikeman's Lament's Officer Casualties Table to see if Count Riccardo really was dead.  Gus, however, was glad to see the back of him.  Riccardo di Stanza's body, looted of his fine coat and armour, was consigned to an anonymous grave-pit on the field. The ladies of Strasbourg, though, still speak of his elegant manners and fine moustache.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A possible Woebetides table layout

I've downloaded a new drawing package for the Mac.  It's freeware called Paintbrush and its very reminiscent of Paint on a Windows machine.  I thought I'd try it out by drawing a diagrammatic version of Grand Woebetide in the early eighteenth century.

The mid-green areas are coastal plain areas, partly scrubby but mostly cleared for agriculture. The dark green marks the edges of the forested central highlands.

The white area is the home range of the Woebetideus people.  We'll treat it was largely impassable but in fact it will be the "hole" in the centre of the table to allow gamers access to both sides of the coastal plain tables.

I wanted an Arab settlement on the north coast so I've added the fishing settlement of Alsamaka (Arabic for 'fishy') - it was presumably abandoned by the 1940s as it doesn't appear on my old wartime map of the island.

Fort James to Fort Charles is about 12 miles as the Woebetide Spotted Pigeon flies. Using the space available to us at Dungworth Green Hall I reckon we could build our bath-tubbed Grand Woebetide twenty feet or more in length.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Latest Woebetideus Models

Having done 32 Warlord plastic infantry as redcoats I fancied painting a different uniform for the last eight.  Those first guys could pass for English or Irish-in-French-service but I think I'll probably end up using them as the former for the Woebetides campaign.  

These new fellows are definitely French.  I've gone for the grey coats and blue facings of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine.  Just a little more painting to do including the yellow lace on the tricorns.

The completed officer is from a Foundry Last of the Mohicans character set.  He's therefore a bit late in costume but I can live with that.

the second officer for my Arabs is this guy. He and his banner are from the Perry Mahdist Ansars box.

Also from that box is this Arab mob...

And finally, these two civilians are from Foundry.  I look forward to the stories we can develop about these two.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Action at Dickerhausen

So we managed to play our Lion Rampant-by-Skype game yesterday with me refereeing, Jamie with me commanding part of the Swiss force and moving the toys and Mark, Gus and Andy online. We used my Swiss-Burgundian Wars collection and a scenario from The Pikeman's Lament that I thought worked for a four-player game.

Swiss crossbow-armed bidowers
The field of battle represented part of the outskirts of the fictional Swiss town of Dickerhausen, recently surrounded by a Burgundian army that is starting to build siege lines.

Andy, with two units of Swiss pikemen and a unit of mounted crossbows, was to attack north (from left to right on the photo above) from Dickerhausen towards the Burgundian fieldworks in front of their camp. Gus had three units of Burgundian missile troops to defend the line.

The far (west) end of the table was taken up by an "impassable" marsh.  One day there'll be an impassable marsh in one of my wargames that turn out to be genuinely impassable but this wasn't that day.  Jamie came through the marsh with a light and fast-moving force - four units of bidowers and one of halberdiers (Fierce Foot in Lion Rampant terms).

The final force in the game was the Burgundian horse.  Mark had a unit of coustilliers (mounted sergeants) and two of mounted men-at-arms the were going to enter from the northern corner (bottom right in the photo above.

Gus set up a Skype call to which we were all invited and I set up my iPad to use the rear-facing camera so that I could provide a view of the relevant bits of the table as necessary.

Andy launched a frontal attack on the Burgundian earthworks but it rapidly became apparent that his pikemen were going to suffer against the Burgundian longbowmen and the Italian mercenary crossbowmen alongside them. One block of pikes was routed before the other reached the earthworks and stopped, presumably disorganised by having to climb over the bank.

Mark threw forward his coustilliers but had the usual difficulty getting his men-at-arms to advance to anywhere useful.

Jamie's light troops made fairly good time through the marsh and by the time I got to take some pictures the battle had begun to coalesce into an east-west action around the open end of the earthworks.

The Burgundian left after routing the Swiss pikes
Mounted men-at-arms are scary beasts once they finally get to the scene of the fighting.  They were able to drive off Jamie's halberdiers and eventually rout them.

When we got down to just three units of bidowers left for the Swiss, we decided to call it a day.

The general feeling was that the technology had worked well and that Lion Rampant wasn't a bad set of rules for this kind of distant gaming.  We're going to try it again.  In fact I've started building another unit of pikes from the Perry plastic Continental Mercenaries box.

I think next time I might propose a more straightforward line-em-up-and-fight game but introduce more of the additional rules; Boasts and leader characteristics for a start.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Swiss-Burgundian Wars by Skype!

Tomorrow, a bunch of us are going to try a little Lion Rampant action by Skype.

I've adapted a scenario from The Pikeman's Lament to give us a four player action using my Swiss and Burgundian models.  This posting is just so the players can see the table in advance and begin to plan their deployments.
The table from above - north to the right, edge of the
Burgundian camp bottom right
The row of four street stumps alongside the road are for decoration only.  The rock spire further north is impassible (but easily skirted). 

Looking southwest from the Burgundian camp

Looking west - the Burgundian fieldworks run almost to the road
beyond which is the marsh
Looking east from the marsh
The woods count as Rough Ground as does the part of the camp delineated by the base with the tents on it.

Looking north from Dickerhausen towards the Burgundian fieldworks
The Burgundian fieldworks are in the form of an embankment with spikes set into it. Troops defending it gain +1 Armour in close combat and +2 Armour if shot at.